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Essay Paper on Fire Department HazMat Coordination

by Megan Payne


It is critical for our local police and fire departments to respond quickly to a hazardous materials emergency, and to work together effectively for any such incident. It’s imperative that all actions are coordinated and implemented to eliminate or transport the hazardous materials, or HazMat, as quickly as possible, while maintaining the safety of the community’s residents.  There should be well-trained, certified staff from both departments in handling hazardous materials, to protect the environment and citizens.  A plan will be presented here regarding the emergency response procedures from a hazardous materials incident.

Key police and all fire fighters must fulfill HazMat training

Safety officers who must handle emergencies and all fire fighters will have thorough training and certification with the following. These will be in-house sessions from the respective departments’ trainers who’ve been trained by OSHA, or other pertinent federal agency.  Regular follow-up training with a short course should be implemented once every six months, and at other times should a situation demand it:

  • Pathogens that are blood borne for all fire fighters, and for any public safety officers who are potentially near biohazards (University of Chicago, 2011).
  • All fire fighters and those officers who will be exposed to biohazards will participate in Right to Know training. It’s a course giving guidelines on handling chemicals, and blood borne pathogens (Environmental Health and Safety, 2011)

General coordination of duties during a hazardous materials emergency

The public will be provided the hazardous materials, or HazMat, phone number by the local media. The dispatcher will contact the public service departments, and the appropriate actions will be delegated by the commanders. The police will have to take the assertive role of managing the public in the area of the hazardous material discovered. If the area is cordoned, and DOT, or department of transportation, must be notified, it will be the duty of   the police department. Handling and disposal of the hazardous material will be managed by the certified fire fighters and police, along with EMS for treatment of any victims.


For proper public awareness, the media will have regular announcements of a HazMat phone number to call. The police and fire departments will have a coordinated team approach to prevent harm to themselves and the public from any such hazardous materials crisis. With the ongoing training in their respective departments, they will be prepared for this emergency. Mock response to a hazardous materials incident by the two departments working together will also be employed once per year.

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Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. (2011). Environmental Health and Safety. Retrieved from http://www.esg/edu/ehs/training/
University of Chicago. (2011). Emergency Response Plan for Hazardous Materials. Retrieved from http:// safety.uchicago.edu/pp/emergency//hazmat.shtml

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